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Armstrong Says Nursing Home Changes Not Enough

A local New Democrat MPP says proposed new financial penalties and licence suspensions for long-term care homes that fail to put safety first don’t go far enough.

London-Fanshawe MPP Teresa Armstrong believes the provincial government’s new plan does little to repair years of nursing home service cuts.

“This government continues to break its promise to protect and support residents of long-term care homes across the province,” said Armstrong. “The Wynne Liberals have failed to adequately inspect long-term care homes, and to respond to serious complaints and concerns, for years.”

The provincial government announced on Wednesday plans to strengthen the quality and safety inspection program at Ontario’s long-term care homes with new enforcement tools. The proposed new tools include financial penalties for repeat offenders, transparency of the inspection process, license suspensions, and the creation of new offences to provide additional protection to residents.

Nursing homes that have been the subject of complaints, critical incidents, and other risk factors would also see extended inspections.

“The safety and security of Ontario’s long-term care residents remains our government’s priority. These proposed changes would expand an already robust legislative and regulatory oversight system for Ontario’s long-term care home sector. The safety, quality of care and quality of life for Ontario’s 78,000 long-term care residents are the key priorities of the regulatory and inspection regime,” said Dr. Eric Hoskins, minister of health and long-term care.

According to Armstrong, if the government actually cared about Ontarians in long-term care, it would support a a private member’s bill put forward by NDP Health Critic France Gélinas that addresses chronic staffing shortages. Bill 33, also known as the Time to Care Act, would require a minimum of four hours of care per day for every resident in long-term care.

“Ontarians need a government that will invest in our health and long-term care system, today, and in the future,” said Armstrong.

The province previously announced plans to renovate 30,000 long-term care beds in 300 nursing homes by 2025 and add 75 nurse practitioners to nursing homes across Ontario.